Over on Ars, I read an article about Circuit City possibly closing stores. It got me to thinking about my own personal experiences with Circuit City. What did they do wrong? Why are they losing market share to Best Buy?
The first thing that struck my mind is their trade dress. The colors for Circuit City are drab and dull. Even the red in their logo isn't bright and cheery. The font itself screams BORING at the top of its lungs. In other words, the Sunday circular from Circuit City doesn't scream look at me. Instead, it just kind of says, meh, this is what we have for sale.
The second thing that came to mind? The Admiral brand stereo system. If there is ever a low-priced item for sale at Circuit City, dollars-to-donuts it was this cheaply manufactured, low on features and high on non-recyclable plastics brand. Nothing screams CHEAP more than a store brand stereo or computer. Thankfully for Best Buy, they've stayed away from identifying their store with any one product (and a poor one at that). On top of that, the whole DIV-X debacle probably sits on people's minds more than anything else.
Let's see, what else? Circuit City brings to mind SALESPEOPLE, Best Buy brings to mind GEEKS. If I'm shopping for electronics, I'm not looking for a pressure-cook from a sales guy...I want information. I'm more 'likely' to find that at Best Buy (although pickings are sometimes slim). I've never found someone at Circuit City who knew what they were selling.
Best Buy stores - packed with goods. Circuit City - drab showroom floors with poor lighting, sparse product placement (plenty of room to walk though..)
Lessons for the next big box store, I guess.